From the rough but colorful pub that provides the novel's title, to the snowboard Gothic estate nearby, the chilly English landscape has never held more atmosphere - or thwarted romance. And Jury will never have a more mysterious Christmas.
Five Days Before Christmas - On his way to a brief holiday (he thinks) Jury meets a woman he could fall in love with. He meets her in a snow covered graveyard - not, he thinks, the best way to begin an attachment.
Four Days Before Christmas - Jury meets Father Rourke, who draws for him the semiotic square - "a structure that might simplify thought," says the priest, but Jury's thoughts need more than symbols.
Three Days Before Christmas - Melrose Plant, Jury's aristocratic and unofficial assistant, arrives at Spinney Abbey, now home to a well-known critic. Among the assembled snowbound guests he meets: Lady Assington, Beatrice Sleight, and the painter Edward Parmenger. When they all assemble in the dining room, Lady Assington announces, "I think we should have a murder."
©2013 Martha Grimes (P)2013 Simon & Schuster
Have re-discovered "quality time." Evenings listening to good books have replaced mindless tv watching. What a difference!
Martha Grimes wrote a great series of books featuring Richard Jury (cerebral detective from Scotland Yard), and his ensemble of friends--each of whom has their own distinctive (often amusing) personalities. Among them all, there is the ever-solid Melrose Plant--who has voluntarily given up his aristocratic titles to live a freer lifestyle--to the great consternation of his American aunt Agatha (who generally supplies the comic relief in the stories) and his butler Ruthven. Plant tends to be Jury's unofficial assistant in most of the mysteries.
In this one, among her best in my opinion, Jury independently meets a woman who will soon be murdered. Melrose Plant & friends separately decide to spend Christmas at an old stately home where murder will occur again. Both would initially appear unrelated, but of course, they are not. And the Jerusalem Inn (aptly named since this occurs around Christmas time, and the attempts there to produce a nativity scene would in some ways underscore the themes of family which appear all through the story) provides a key central point for all the further action.
The narrator is very good, and the story equally so. This was originally published in 1984, so it is still echoing much of the vintage british mystery genre. (It is difficult to believe that Grimes is actually an American author!). I love all her books--and this is 5th in the series, and she is really hitting her stride at this point. Well worth reading!
Very high up. I enjoyed listening to West's narration almost as much as I do Davina Porter... may Her Voice never fail..
The narrator is crucial to enjoying a book. One of my all time favorite books is Heinlein's THe Moon is a Harsh Mistress. However, the narrators voice was so mechanical I could not finish listening, even for the story.
So thank you Mr. West for being one of the good guys.
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